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Singapore: Friday's push on banks helps cut STI's weekly loss


OVER the course of the week, the Straits Times Index (STI) dropped 12 points to 3,513, a loss that would have been greater if not for a large push on DBS and UOB that enabled the index to gain 10.25 points on Friday. The banks are due to report their first-quarter figures next week.

A reasonably firm Wall Street, an all-time high for Nasdaq on Thursday and continued support for Hong Kong stocks via the bourse's link with Shanghai did not really have much impact here.

The more interesting feature, however, was that volume in penny stocks declined throughout the week, with Friday's turnover coming in at 1.9 billion units worth S$1.3 billion. The unit average, which a week earlier hovered around S$0.40-S$0.50, rose to around S$0.70 this week. Total unit volume, which averaged 2.5 billion last week, has fallen to below two billion units.

Brokers said the drop in interest is not unexpected since the penny-stock rally was most likely initiated by local proprietary desks which by their nature are not long-term players. Moreover, there were no fresh, external fund inflows that were reported, so a loss of momentum was not surprising.

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